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Medical News & Perspectives
December 2, 2009

FDA Initiative Aims to Reduce Medication-Related Errors

JAMA. 2009;302(21):2304. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1759

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new collaborative initiative to reduce preventable injuries resulting from medication errors, unintentional exposure to a medication, drug abuse, misuse of medication, or use of medication to intentionally cause self harm.

Each year, drug-related adverse events result in 4 million visits to emergency departments or other health care facilities, with cost of such visits exceeding $4 billion, according to the FDA. These injuries may occur as a result of a clinician not applying current knowledge of the drug when prescribing or because of a mix-up or other procedural error. They can also occur when a patient fails to use a product correctly—for instance, by taking more than the recommended dose or by purposely abusing the product. There are also many cases in which children are inadvertently exposed to medications that had not been stored properly.

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